Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Benjamin Roberds and Jordan Reyes' A Plague So Pleasant

Cody is surprised by an indie zombie movie that is now available on DVD.

If at first you don't enjoy A Plague So Pleasant, just stick with it.

Co-directed by Benjamin Roberds and Jordan Reyes from a screenplay by Roberds, the film gets off to a very slow, dreary start; black and white scenes of people making their way through a world trying to return to normalcy after a zombie outbreak. Zombies roam the land, but they are completely harmless. Although there was total mayhem when the dead first came back to life and many people died (and then became zombies themselves), after twelve hours people came to a realization: zombies only attack when provoked. Stop trying to re-kill them and they'll just wander around mindlessly. These aren't the zombies of popular films and TV shows, they don't exist solely to eat the flesh of the living. They just simply exist. To keep the peace, zombies have been named a protected species. It's a felony to kill one of them.

Our lead character is Clay (David Chandler), who gives us the back story by croaking out a dispassionate voiceover. Clay and his sister Mia (Eva Boehnke) lost their family in the twelve hours of zombie fighting, and Mia lost her musician boyfriend Gerry (Gerry Green) as well. It's been more than a year since Gerry died and even though he's now a zombie contained in a designated reserve, Mia hasn't let go of him. She still loves him and considers him her boyfriend, she won't date anyone else.

The first thirty minutes of the film are so slow and dry that some viewers may be tempted to just write off as a pretentious arthouse hipster flick. You may think that all you'll have to hold on to to get through the movie is the wonderful douchebag performance delivered by Maxwell Moody as Clay's housemate Todd.

And then, for the sake of his sister's sanity, Clay takes a gun into the zombie reserve and shoots Gerry in the head. At that point, color and bright daylight seep into the film and it completely shifts gears. A herd of zombies come running toward Clay - yes, running - and from that point on the movie is non-stop action, as Clay has just accidentally re-ignited the zombie apocalypse.

The sedate pace of the first stretch of the film is a great contrast to the hyper pace of the remaining running time. Just as I was starting to get frustrated with A Plague So Pleasant, the action stretch began and I realized I was watching a very clever movie. It was a really cool idea to divide the film in such a way.

With the success of The Walking Dead, zombies are everywhere these days, and a lot of the cash-in movies coming out are very tough to sit through. A Plague So Pleasant turned out to be one of the best new zombie movies I have seen in the last few years. If you want to watch a zombie flick that does things a little differently, I highly recommend checking it out.

And remember... stick with it.

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